O Christmas Tree


I’m one of the authors sharing holiday memories and prizes as a part of the RomFan Reviews Holiday Blog Hop. To win a digital download of my Christmas release,  Somewhere the Bells Ring, leave me a comment on this post and a contact email.
And now, for my story.  Cutting the Christmas tree ourselves is a significant tradition that dates well back to the years before I was married, with the whole family going together to select and cut it, as we still do. The ranks have grown considerably over the decades and have included guests from foreign countries.
This year (as usual) we went to our favorite tree farm on a hillside outside the quaint hamlet of Singers Glen with all of our children and grandchildren, the youngest just four months old. Quite an adventure. The little people were especially excited, but a good time was had by all. Finding the candy cane tree is the ultimate challenge. Weary from the steep incline, three yr. old granddaughter Emma confided to me, “Dumma (as I’m called because our oldest grandson couldn’t say his G’s so Gumma became Dumma) this gonna be a hard day finding that candy cane tree.” But we did. A happy shout from our son-in-law sent everyone tramping off down another side of the hill.
To mix things up this year, my college art major daughter, Elise, suggested we get the ugliest tree we could find for our immediate household and see what we could do with it. Six year old Ian thought this was a great idea, however, after he’d helped cut it, Ian asked, “Dad has out tree, right?” He didn’t want to get stuck with a dud.
The couple who own the tree farm were glad someone still liked Charlie Brown trees, thinking they’d never sell this one. Not only do they have a beautiful farm, but a wonderful old spring house where the wife serves hot chocolate and visits with guests by a cozy fire in the vintage hearth and children are invited to choose an ornament to take home from their decorated tree. This is the best Christmas tree farm ever.
Visitors from China who’ve stayed with my parents over the years have found this tradition of trekking off to cut an evergreen ourselves rather fascinating, as they do the whole concept of stuffing a large tree into our house and decorating it with eclectic baubles, like the glittered light bulbs our son made when he was in first grade, or the dough angel with glasses my brother created some time ago. But that’s another story.
In the beginning of our marriage my hubby didn’t yet grasp the importance of this communal tree-gathering experience, the snow or mud squelching beneath our boots, haggling over the merits of every pine and spruce on the tree farm honored by our presence. Shortly before December 25th, that first year of wedded bliss, DH turned up with a tree he’d purchased from the local rescue squad––already cut.
I sadly contemplated the little evergreen and tried to make it my own, but this was not to be. Realizing his gross error, Dennis accompanied me at his first opportunity to a neighbor’s farm where we were given free rein to choose a tree from the field that had gone to cedars. After careful searching, he sawed down the tree of our choice, with far less debate than there is now with all the added opinions.
Still, there were difficulties. We hadn’t ever cut a cedar on our own before and didn’t realize how they sometimes grow. When we cut the trunk shorter to fit in the stand, it fell apart into three trees, none of them suitable.
My father, a veteran cedar cutter, took me for the third and final time to choose a tree from the farm our family had traditionally patronized. By this point Dennis, Mom and Dad all agreed that I was becoming somewhat obsessive about the whole thing and perhaps there’s some justification in this, but the pressure was on to select the most perfect tree ever, like Papa Bear in The Berenstein Bears Christmas.
We finally found one, after considerable searching on my part and growing impatience on my father’s, not to mention cold feet. I decorated it lovingly in the little apartment Dennis and I lived in then, but I didn’t bask in its presence for long. The apartment just wasn’t home, so I spent most of the holidays at my parents’ house in front of their tree.
This year Elise and I decorated our ‘challenged’ tree with strings of popcorn and lights, as it’s rather skimpy to hold the traditional ornaments. All in all, it’s not a bad little tree. Quite pretty, really. Ian is impressed.~
*Sometimes it snows at Christmas in the Shenandoah Valley.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  Pics are of the grandchildren, my daughter and daughter in law, the hearth in the old spring house.
***Most of this post is actually from last year, but it’s pretty much the same as what we did this year.

21 responses to “O Christmas Tree

  1. Awww…Beth…the memories your family is making looks like the very best gift all of you could get for Christmas. Your babies are adorable and I can tell you cherish each and every moment you have with your loved ones. Thank you so much for taking the time to share these happy times with us. Merry Christmas and years of blessings and dreams come true to you all!

    🙂

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  2. Thanks Maeve. You said it all. And all the very best Christmas has to give to you and yours.

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  3. Beth,

    How touching…To see things like this still going on I love it….You are truly blessed….You are one amazing woman…Take care my friend

    Melinda

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  4. What awesome family time! We have a several tree farms and once took the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad from one location, they took us by bus to a tree farm to pick out our tree, bus took us back to town and our tree went to the train – had a great lunch and took the train back to our car where we got our tree. Enjoy these moments – they are gone too fast!

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  5. It look like everyone had fun! I enjoyed the post; it was a great read.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

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  6. Caroline Clemmons

    Beth, what a wonderful traition. Our family is so allergic to real trees that we have always had an artificial one. Ours is really very nice when it’s decorated, but not the same as a real tree, of course. Our daughters and I are asthmatics and having an artificial tree is better than being ill all season. We (meaning my husband) put our tree up and turned on the lights Thanksgiving night. We’ll leave it up until twelfth night…or later. I loved your post about always taking your decorations down by Easter.

    Congratulations again on your improved health. What a wonderful Christmas miracle!

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  7. I love that your daughter wanted a “challenged” tree but that Ian wanted to make sure that it wasn’t for his house! Too funny! The kids are adorable! That little one with the pink (heart?) on her jacket is just the cutest!

    Have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
    June M.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo .com

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  8. How funny, we just finished putting up our Christmas tree here at home. Ours is artificial, though. But I was so happy and a relieved this year. I found an ornament of mine that’s been missing for the past couple years. It’s a simple thing, a wooden heart painted red. In white script, one side reads “Merry Christmas (my full Christian name)” and the back has the date of my Baptism written on it. A woman at my church used to go and get the list of babies baptized in the parish for the year and made us all those ornaments. My sister is jealous as she doesn’t have one–she’s six years younger than me and I guess the woman stopped by then. I was upset when we couldn’t find it and was afraid it was lost forever.

    Mackenzie
    musicalangel12@yahoo.com

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    • Ornaments like that are very special, Mackenziew. So glad you found it. Those are the ones we cherish. We have many old ones, some I made years ago out of jar lids covered with fabric and Christmas scenes I embroidered, then I added bits of braid and ribbon. I also made ornaments out of tuna fish cans covered with fabric and scenes inserted inside.

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  9. A lovely post. Looks like all of you, had an awfully good time.
    Merry Christmas and hope you have a great new year too.
    divavixenqueen(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  10. Another fantastic post, Beth. I’ve always wanted to cut my own tree but haven’t had the opportunity. Nowadays I have artificial trees but they are not the same. Not even close. This year, because of the surgery, the only trees I have up are a little 5 foot tree that lists to the left crammed full of my favorite ornaments–old and new. Bought and homemade. I have a 3 foot tree on the round coffee table in my living room surrounded by a quaint Victorian Christmas village. Usually there is a 7 foot tree just behind my favorite chair.

    My new daughter-in-law never had any sort of real Christmas, She suffered abuse at the hands of her mother and the husbands of the day. She laughs at me, with tears in her eyes, when she helps me decorate and hangs a little finger puppet made by her husband, my son, when he was 4. The gold glitter mouse my husband got me for our first Christmas–41 years ago. I think it cost a dollar, a dollar we didn’t have back then. It is the first ornament on the tree every year.

    Your family is beautiful, especially the kids. And, the watermelon baby girl with her backpack on and her eyes sparkling beneath her green cap. Thanks again, Beth.

    BTW, finished “Somewhere the Bells Ring” last night. Awesome.

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    • Awwww thanks, Nona, for sharing all of that from your own home and celebrating with me. Love those special ornaments. And thanks for the high five on Somewhere the Bells Ring.
      You are a dear lady. Your new daughter in law must be very happy to enter into such a warm loving family. God bless you and yours and a very merry Christmas.

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  11. I love the idea of keeping your own tradition during the holidays. We can’t have a real tree because I’m super-alleric & hives isn’t a tradition I want to start, but every year we bring out the little Victorian village and my husband’s Lionel train set. Our granddaughter loves setting up the village and we love watching her do it.

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  12. Thanks everyone! the winners of this blog hop are Tracey, June and Mackenzie.

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